Singing Their Joy

Singing Their Joy

The People hear their clan singing their joy at returning, their chirps and squeals, their clicking talk. We gather to greet them, also singing happiness, laughing and talking. For both clans it is a time of feasting.

The men joke as they keep watch. We can see their spiraled tusks, but these ones are too far off, these ones are not ready. Hundreds more are returning to us. There will be those who will come close, will give themselves to the People. We are grateful, waste nothing. We carve their stories in ivory, so the tuugaalik will live forever.


This week at Carrot Ranch, Charli would have us writing of unicorns. Many people are fascinated with these mystical creatures. I am not one of those people. But the prompt did lead me to the Arctic, where Tuugaalik is still hunted by the Inuit. To me Monodon monoceros, the narwhal whale, unicorn of the sea, is more interesting than a horned horse. Perhaps because of the healthy, sustainable relationship between the tuugaalik and the Inuit, this creature is less elusive than the classical unicorn.

working-template-for-ff-challenges39.pngFebruary 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by February 27, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Barred Rock

Paul Scribbles tells us that d’Verse  is “a pub where only virtual drinks are drunk and where the real selection on offer is the talent of the group to create word wizardry from any prompt”. I have enjoyed the work of the poets who gather there. When Mr. Scribbles recently suggested that we “Pen a poem about drinking and be as creative as you wish with the word”, well I thirsted to participate, even though I am short on time. I won’t be mixing up a new concoction for this prompt, but will share the following poem from Chicken Shift, my book of fowl road crossings and foul roadkill.


Barred Rock

A chicken walks into a bar

Then realizes she’s in the wrong joke

Sits beside the gorilla anyway,

Orders a Jim and coke.

She looks to her other side

And who is sitting there?

Eating shoots and leaves

She sees a Panda bear.

And in the backroom, reserved for cigar smokers

She sees a group of dogs, around a table playing poker.

She has another drink, says, “I lay, but I don’t lie.

I’ve got to cross the road, though I can’t think why.”

The gorilla was gallant, he picked up her tab

And he suggested it’d be best to cross the road by cab.

Ancient Breaths

The beauty and the misery of grey –   in Haibun Monday,  over at d’Verse says, “Today I would like you to consider grey as a subject for your haibun”. This is my first haibun, a mix of prose and haiku. I went where gray led.
Gray is the disembodied peal of buoy-bells, of foghorns. Gray is the rock face drummed by the relentless pewter sea. Gray laps at the shore of dream state. Gray is the wrung colors from your heart. Gray is the color of communion, the color of oneness. Gray says ‘let go’, that you may go forth with your brush and your palette. Gray is the soft murmuring of a secret door, an opaque window, a mirrored portal.
ancient breaths of gray
inspire wonder plumed ponders
fogwebs cling and clutch


388451859_0d21008508.jpgCarrot Ranch February 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you. Respond by February 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

This follows “Ground Cover” from last week.

The previous summer she’d led him to Montreal after following him off the farm. Now the frozen river was breaking up, ice mosaics shifting, jostling, eager for spring.

He would continue west. Was she coming?

“No. I’m staying.”

She loved him. She loved the promise of the city more.

“Be careful.” He kissed her then walked away packing no more possessions than when they had first met.

                        There goes a beggar, naked

                        Except for his robes

                        Of Heaven and Earth

His oft quoted Kikaku.

What kind of a father might he have been, she wondered, stroking her swelling belly.



The Work of Memoir

The following is in response to Irene Water’s Times Past challenge. Read the rest of her post at Carrot Ranch for more discussion on memoir writing.

Alphabetical Order,                 D. Avery

I would have to go to school.
Because, while I knew some things, I did not know all things, and there they would teach me things.
I would learn to read and write.
Ok, so I went to kindergarten. No regrets. I met some good friends there. And I learned. I learned how easy it is to get in trouble with your good friends in kindergarten. And I learned to recite the alphabet. I learned it and then we just did it. Recite, recite, recite. Reading, I found out, was to wait until first grade. (The secret was, it was too late; I had accidentally figured reading out at home while looking at comic books. Shhh.) But by day it was that crazy disconnected string of letters that weren’t even categorized by their roles; their sounds and roles were still guarded secrets. We just learned to identify them by sight and their names. And that was fair, because not all my friends could read when they got home but at school we were all equal when it came to reciting the alphabet, though in fact Freddie could sing it more beautifully and faster than any of us. In another year, in first grade, it was less fair; he was still singing that song while the rest of us were all out of tune, scattering those letters and putting them into choppy combinations of sounds.
But what about writing? Well that was where we recited on paper, drawing the letters, making them ourselves. We had to do this silently; Miss Koring liked silence a lot. Freddie kept singing the alphabet, he got in trouble for that.
I figured out how to do this alphabet writing, and I did it just like Miss Koring showed us, one letter after another in that same order we sang them in. It was fun at first, mastering this skill, copying those letters onto the lined paper. We kept doing it. In the same order. In the same way. I started to get into trouble.
Ms. Koring did not like it when Bs had wings and antennae drawn on them. I made it through the Cs, and even capital D. But lower case Ds looked like the musical notes that Miss Thorpe taught us, Miss Thorpe who let me do the chickadee-dee-dee part of the music lesson because of my name. Miss Koring did not like it when my lower case Ds danced up and down the lined spaces like musical notes, like flitting chickadees. EEEEeeee. Flying flags flapping on the Fs got me in trouble again. GGGGgggg HHHHhhhh III (am being so good) iii JJJJ jjjj . Miss Koring came back by. Kicking Ks caused conflict. LLLLLlllll. Looking through the window I could see majestic mountains mounded with snow, but I got in trouble for my rendition of the letter M. I’ll be good. NOPQRS, S started the sound of my surname, but I slunk sorrowfully when scolded for my slithering script. And I should have known not to string taut telephone wires between my Ts, and to have just done them as I had been taught. Too late. UVW, whoa, here we go again, Ws, waves of Ws washing wildly across the lined paper. In trouble again; I couldn’t win. XYZ, Z end of the day, another day of school. I hadn’t learned much.
I would have to come back.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters

As you read this I will be sitting on the high seas, nearing the equator, out of range of the internet so I will start by apologising for what will seem my tardy response to any comments. Don’t worry I will get there and look forward to coming back to a conversation in full swing.

Initially, I was planning for this post to discuss what memoir is but decided that I have already written a post on the difference between memoir and fiction so instead I will direct you to that and write instead on the work of Memoir.

Have you ever thought about why you read memoir? Have you ever noticed that you read memoir differently to the way you read fiction? I know I do. I am supercritical with memoir if I find what is written to be unbelievable. If I discover after I have…

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Low Tones

Low tones softly

spoken almost hummed

hard to hear harder

to ask

to Speak Up play down

fears muttering or mumbling.

Might be mine ear stumbling

on muffled strings

of words that are strummed

words that maybe

sing possibly thrum muted

murmurings of love.



At dVerse, WhimsyGizmo would have us “Murmur something poetic in exactly 44 words, including some semblance of the word murmur. Get creative if you’d like, and have some fun with it, but please be sure some form the word “murmur” appears in your poem, and that your word count adds up to exactly 44, not including the title”. Click HERE to go there and see more poetry or to give it a try yourself.


I’ll never forget seeing acres and acres of burned forest. Some charred trunks still standing, silent memorials amidst a resounding choir of color, the purples and reds of riotous fireweed echoing brightly. There was a challenge for allegiance, a yearning for what had been and for what might be. The tree trunks intoned of past trauma as the fireweed sang the refrain of resilience. It was beautiful and it was ugly. It was awesome and it was eerie.

The vast sea of fireweed lapped at the shore of road that I stood on with my family. I wanted to wade out to a blackened tree trunk but was overwhelmed by the waves of color, by the surge tide of so many plants in the wake of fire. My father assured me that this flood would recede and that the forest would emerge again. I had to believe him, had to have faith that green trees would quiet the roar of color that stung my eyes.

Back in the truck I stared out the window for miles at this powerfully incongruous scene. Later the visual memory would appear unbidden, and whisper a reminder of the immeasurable capacities of the human spirit.


One part of C.Jai Ferry’s challenge for her continuing twitter tutelage is to  write a 200-word story (give or take on the words) incorporating the theme of congruency. See more at Carrot Ranch  and #twitterflash.


Ground Cover

All landscapes and their flora are the story they tell. No matter what has transpired, plants arrive as angels, filling a niche, fulfilling a need. You can study it as pioneering species and plant succession, but better yet as an interdependent community, an ecosystem always striving towards health and wholeness. Farmers and gardeners should follow the lead of nature in their human endeavors. Wes Jackson comes to mind for his work at The Land Institute where he promotes perennial polyculture to make agriculture more sustainable and more ecologically healthy.february-8-flash-fiction-challenge.png  Plants speak for the soil, which sustains the plants, which sustain the soil, which sustains the plants that also sustain us; we might want to pay attention to the stories a landscape is telling.

That’s a rant that hopefully didn’t send you away from my 99 word flash prompted by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch this week.

Ground Cover

Though she didn’t know him, she climbed the granite boulder underneath the craggy maple and sat with him looking over the hayfield.

A beautiful quilt he said, the red and orange paintbrush, the blue chicory. She loved how he spoke, but bluntly informed him those were weeds that covered poor soil. Then she blushed; the weeds exposed her family’s poverty, her father’s laziness and ineptitude. This field should be green, not the colors of scars and bruises.

She noted his backpack and tightly rolled sleeping bag. “Don’t go yet,” she instructed him. “I need to get a few things.”


Carrot Ranch February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write. Respond by February 13, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 14). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!rwr-1.png